In dealing with issues within the family, how much should you excuse someone with mental health problems? You understandably know that when it is present, some family members are not their selves. There’s too much irritability, short-tempered, and aggression. There are even times these people can become mean and vindictive not only to you but to other people as well. You may acknowledge that those bad behavior or traits are part of the mental illness, but would you let it go?
Unchecked mental health concerns have the potential to foster dangerous reckless, criminal, and suicidal behaviors. — Shainna Ali Ph.D., LMHC
Some individuals with mental health issues are not in control of their actions. It’s not their fault that they are suffering from a condition though. But with the current situation, some members of the family let these mentally ill individuals take out their frustrations to everybody in the household. However, do you believe that it is the right thing to do? Or have you thought that if ever you confront them they’ll become upset and see you as a new negative voice? Will you able to let them know that there’s a lot of instances they are hurtful? Or you’ll ignore it and give it a break so that these people can build themselves up again? Perhaps some of the ways listed below might help you out.
Externalizing The Problem
One way to help family members who are dealing with a mental illness is through externalizing the problem. Instead of blaming people of how they made you feel and how awful they’ve treated you, try focusing on the cause of it all. Meaning, you can tell them that things were not the same anymore and that the mental illness takes its toll in all of you. Explain how it affects your daily routine and relationship. By externalizing the problem, it can help the members of the family not to feel guilty and at fault. It does not only make them feel better about their selves towards others, but it can also become a great chance to achieve relief from the problem. They will be able to realize that it’s not them who are causing a family issue, but instead, it’s the mental illness.
Part of providing treatment to children and families is re-education (what therapists call “psychoeducation”) about how mental illness becomes embedded in our close relationships, including parent-child, sibling, intimate/marital, and whole-family relationships. — Dillon Browne Ph.D.
Seek Family Therapy
Family therapy is a safe place to talk about things that family members struggle to talk about in everyday life. Perhaps you already noticed that not everyone in the unit often sit around together and discusses issues. There’s no consistent set up in a regular life where everybody in the family is open about “all” their thoughts and ideas. That’s because not everyone feels safe and comfortable. You have to understand that when there’s a mental health problem, solutions are not easily attainable. Therefore, the need for a mediator or a therapist can be a great help. That is primarily to those family members who can’t seem to express themselves due to emotional and mental struggle. The purpose of the therapy is to make sure that no one gets stepped on and everyone gets heard. It will become a great experience to all of you to find and have a safe place to vent about what current issues are going on in your family.
It strikes me that while “whole-health” approaches to care are still, to many, novel and innovative, the notion of “person-centered practice” has become, for the most part, the standard of care. — Blake Griffin Edwards LMFT
Seek Personal Therapy
The reason why you might need a personal therapy is that there are instances that family therapy is not going to be enough. Yes, it is okay to feel frustrated, exhausted, clueless, and incapable of things. It’s okay to think that you don’t know what to do. What’s not okay is when you allow yourself to get trapped in a situation where you consistently tolerate family members to hurt you. It’s understandable that you don’t want to hurt people with mental illness because you know the condition is already hurting them. But having a personal therapy without the family around is a safe place to vent your emotions and struggles as well. It gives you a chance to work on taking care of yourself.
It’s entirely difficult to have someone in the family struggle with mental health conditions. It can undoubtedly become too exhausting not only for them but for the entire family as well. With that, you have to make sure that you take proper steps and precautions to help your family deal with the situation.